Find a birthday cake and prepare to sing – the Nissan LEAF is one year old.
Find a birthday cake and prepare to sing – the Nissan LEAF is one year old. And look how this battery powered car has grown. The Japanese manufacturer has expanded its dealer network, for starters, from twenty-six to thirty-two – and there are plans to increase this further to one-hundred and fifty before the LEAF's second birthday. Furthermore, there are now real people – in the real world – using this electric car everyday. User testing, rather than simulation, is clearly the best way to access products - and at least one guy is happy:Richard, a silicon chip designer commented: “We've clocked up around 8,000 miles in our LEAF with a mixture of commuting to work and taking the children to and from their various activities. At the weekend there's often even more ferrying to be done - we can easily clock up over two hours of short trips around town on a Saturday, so that's quite a reduction in emissions over a conventional car.” The Nissan LEAF is propelled by a battery powered electric motor and, Nissan claims, it has a range of up to one-hundred miles. However, this is dependant on a number of factors. Driving fast, aggressively, or uphill can reduce the range – much as it does in a traditional oil-burner. When the vehicle needs recharging motorists have three options. The first is to 'plug in' to a home-based 13A socket, which then completes a full-charge in ten hours. Or, install Nissan's 16A fixed charging system that gets the job done in eight. The fastest option, however, is to use a rapid charging point that achieves an 80% charge in thirty minutes. The locations of these points are stored within the car's navigation system. The Nissan LEAF is clearly not the only electric vehicle on the road, but it is one of the most complete. That is because – unlike some competitors – the LEAF is a five-door hatchback with respectable performance. It therefore feels like a proper car on the road. Tempted? Well, prepare to write a big cheque. Even with the £5,000 Government grant the price for this zero emission workhorse is a hefty £25,990. That burns like an electric shock.